Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sure Goes Good in This High Country, Doesn't It?

In September, Mike and I camped overnight at Deep Lake in the Indian Heaven Wilderness. We found our campsite well-stocked with a pile of downed wood, and we made the best of it as the temperature dropped into the thirties. We sat up late into the night, sipping bourbon while the fire snapped and roared.

The next day, we hiked to Lemei Rock. The trail led past the jagged summit to a viewpoint high above Wapiti Lake. While we admired the view of the lake’s indigo and turquoise waters, and watched clouds cross the imposing silhouette of nearby Mt. Adams, I unfairly teased Mike by calling him a redneck, sparking a conversation about growing up and attending high school in rural Oregon. Just then, three people rode up on horses: a man about our age, and an older man and woman in their fifties, accompanied by two dogs. They were clearly locals, ranchers or farmers or simply people who enjoyed living in the country and riding horses. We got to talking about the area and the weather, and the older man, sitting astride his horse, asked how we dealt with the cold the night before.

Exactly at the same time, Mike replied “bourbon” and I replied “fire.”

Neither of us heard each other, but the man on the horse laughed at our response, and said, “Sure goes good in this high country, doesn’t it.”

And the funny thing is that both of us thought his comment was completely appropriate and directed at our own individual response, and our conversation went on as if nothing odd had happened. It wasn’t until after they rode away that Mike and I realized what had happened – but the phrase struck both of us as completely and utterly perfect:

“Sure goes good in this high country, doesn’t it.”

It sure does.

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